This is a perfect winter weeknight meal. Buy some pizza dough from the store, throw on some delicious winter veggies, finish with smokey bacon and mozzarella. Done. Awesome.
Remember how I only needed a little bit of squash for last week's Carbonara? Well, this is what I did with the rest of it - cubed it up and roasted it with shallots, thyme, olive oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. I only used about half of this squash for the pizza - the rest of it? Stay tuned.
Ugh, blurry picture. Sorry. Anyway, top some rolled out dough with slices of smoked mozzarella, the roasted squash, some kale rubbed with olive oil, and some halfway cooked bacon. I bought some fresh dough from Whole Foods because I really didn't feel like making my own, but I wish they sold wheat dough. That would make things easy AND healthy. Also, I really should have split this into 2 pizzas. It was almost too big for my stone and I ended up with a lot of crust.
In the super hot oven, the bacon finishes cooking, the kale becomes crispy, and the cheese gets all melty and golden. Yum. The smoked mozzarella is really key here, it goes so well with the bacon and the kale - so don't skip it!
Butternut Squash and Kale Pizza with Smoked Mozzarella and Bacon
adapted from The Kitchn
makes 2 10" pizzas
1 small butternut squash, 1 1/2 - 2 lbs (my photo is of a large, 4 lb squash)
1 large shallot, cut into large pieces (optional)
a few sprigs of thyme
4 strips thick-cut bacon
4 big leaves Tuscan or dino kale (roughly 1/4 bunch or 2 1/2 ounces - again, stay tuned for what to do with the rest)
8 oz smoked mozzarella
1 lb pizza dough, storebought or homemade
1-2 tbsp olive oil
freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Peel and dice the squash into small 1/2-inch cubes. Toss the cubes with a drizzle of olive oil and salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer so the cubes aren't too crowded and nestle in the shallot and thyme. (The shallot is optional, I used it in my next recipe with the other half of the butternut squash. You can omit it; roast it for the flavor, and discard it; or add it to the pizza if you wish.) Roast the cubes for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until soft. Set the cubes aside until needed. You can do this a day in advance and keep the squash in the fridge until needed. Let it come to room temperature before adding to the pizza.
Dice the bacon. Warm a skillet over medium-high heat and fry the bacon until cooked through, but not totally crispy. It will cook a little more in the oven. Set aside to drain on a paper towel.
Strip the leaves from the stems and tear into small 1/2-inch pieces. Wash the kale by soaking in cold water and draining three times. Spin it in a salad spinner or pat with a clean kitchen towel to get the kale as dry as you possibly can. The stems can be saved for another purpose. Toss the kale with a little olive oil; if preparing the kale ahead of time, wait until just before assembling the pizza to toss with oil.
Slice the mozzarella into thin rounds.
Heat the oven to 500°F or as hot as it will go. If you have a baking stone, place this in the lower half of the oven while the oven warms.
To assemble and bake the pizzas, divide the dough into two halves and shape each into 10-inch rounds (Don't be a cowboy like me and think that you can get away with one big pizza). Working one round at a time, brush with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Lay half the rounds of mozzarella on the pizza and arrange 1/2 cup of the roasted squash and half the bacon across the dough. Scatter half of the kale over top, then grind some black pepper over the top.
Transfer the pizza to the oven. Bake for 7-10 minutes, until the kale is crispy, the cheese is bubbling, and the crust is dark golden. Assemble and bake the second pizza as the first. Let the pizzas cool slightly before slicing and serving.